Erin Phillips says her future is scary but exciting after ending one of Australia’s most successful sporting careers.
Phillips, the AFLW’s most-decorated player, will retire after captaining Port Adelaide against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.
A triple premiership player at Adelaide and dual AFLW best-and-fairest, Phillips is also a basketball Olympic silver medallist, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and winner of two WNBA titles.
“The biggest thing I would like to do is take a little bit of time out to evaluate what’s next,” the 38-year-old told reporters on Tuesday.
“I have been in an elite sporting environment since I was 16 years of age, which is longer than some of my teammates have been alive.
“I’ve always had this three year plan, and for the first time it’s a little bit unknown – and I’m OK with that.
“It’s a little bit (scary) because I’ve always been a very driven person, always had my ducks in a row.”
Phillips’ football achievements will stand the test of time – the triple AFLW All Australian also collected two AFLPA players’ MVP awards, two club champion awards, and won the best-afield medal in two of her three premierships with the Crows.
But she shrugged off suggestions the AFLW should name its best-and-fairest award in her honour.
“I certainly don’t play this game to have awards named after you,” she said.
“You don’t play team sports, honestly, to win individual accolades otherwise you would go play an individual sport.”
Phillips played 46 games for the Crows and then moved to Port as their captain when they entered the competition two seasons ago.
That switch realised a childhood dream of playing for the Power, where her father Greg is an eight-time premiership winner. He also played for Collingwood in the AFL.
“To my Dad, thank you … for spending time when I’m sure you were tired and sore from your own trainings to teach me this game as a young girl,” she said.
“And even when you knew there was no future in it, you taught me anyway. You are the reason why I love this game.”
Phillips said her body could no longer cope with the rigours of playing football.
“I’m not at the level physically where I could be happy with any more,” she said.
“But I’m just so grateful that I got this much out of my body.
“Getting to the games, it’s almost relief.
“It’s the six days in between, the recovery … managing four kids as well, and life – it’s tough, but I wouldn’t change anything.
“I would do it again but there’s also relief that I won’t have to keep doing that now. I’ve wanted to keep pushing that limit and I’m so glad I did.”
(Australian Associated Press)